Question about immigration reform being an amnesty for employers
This question is part of the Stop Amnesty Challenge. See that page for the details on the Challenge.
This question is appropriate only for politicians who support the 2013 Senate immigration bill (the "Gang of Eight" bill). That's true of most national Democratic Party leaders, but make sure and double check before asking. This question is designed in part to show wrong a stock trick politicians use: claiming that comprehensive immigration reform isn't amnesty because illegal aliens eligible for reform would have to pay fines, pay back taxes, learn English, and so on. See the reform not amnesty and amnesty require pages for examples of those tricks.
This question is most appropriate for Democratic Party leaders in Congress and the Obama administration; their supporters will be more upset about their giveaway to corrupt businesses.
Here's the question:
I'd like to ask about the Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill, the "Gang of Eight" bill.
You support that bill, and I'm sure you'd claim it's not amnesty.
However, that's not entirely true. The bill is a major amnesty: for employers.
Under the bill you support, illegal aliens would have to pay fines and so on, but most of the companies that employed them would get off scot-free. Even most companies that knowingly hired illegal aliens would get off scot-free.
One thing you could do is propose automatic fines and automatic investigation against any company that, during the process of comprehensive immigration reform, is determined to have employed large numbers of illegal aliens.
I'd like to hear what you think. But, please note that I'm not asking about increased sanctions for actions *after* immigration reform. I'm asking about what those companies did *before* immigration reform.
Will you demand automatic fines and investigation against companies that employed illegal aliens, do you have some other plan to deal with those employers, or will you continue to support giving most companies that employed illegal aliens an amnesty? Please only answer that question: will you punish corrupt employers as I described, do you have another plan, or do you still want to give those employers their own amnesty?
These are the notes on the question, including possible follow-ups:
- The second sentence should be replaced with a short quote from the politician or a reference to what they said about "amnesty" if possible. For instance: "In January, you said the Senate bill isn't amnesty." Also print out proof of the politician supporting the Senate bill and the cites below. Please make sure that the politician supports the same bill discussed above: the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill S.744 that passed the Senate (such as by voting for the final version). This question isn't as appropriate for Republicans since they might have voted against it or they might try to dodge the question by claiming they wanted to offer amendments.
- If the politician tries to claim there are penalties in the bill against employers for past actions, say this: "The bill you support has a section called 'Employer Protections' . It describes that employers won't face tax penalties for hiring illegal aliens in the past. If you'd like I can read it to you. The bill does punish employers that, for instance, lie about having employed an illegal alien; for instance, sham companies paid to pretend to have employed illegal aliens in order to get those illegal aliens into the reform process. But, that's not what I asked about. I'm asking about growers, chicken processors, and so on that employed large numbers of illegal aliens. If you're seriously suggesting there are penalties in the Senate bill akin to the penalties illegal aliens will face such as monetary fines, tell all of us exactly where we can find it" If they persist, they might be confused or they might be bluffing. So, demand they tell you where such sanctions are in the bill, or demand they have one of their aides later find those sanctions for you. That would have to be dealt with by a question asked at a later event, so try to avoid that if possible. On the other hand, the politician claiming such sanctions are in the bill and then later failing to produce them can be used to make the politician look bad. For instance, by pointing out at one of their later events that they weren't able to produce the promised section with the sanctions and asking them to finally answer the question.
- If the politician tries to claim that employers have no way of knowing that someone's an illegal alien, say something like: "Of course they know in many cases. Around half to three-quarters of farm laborers are illegal aliens  and it's not hard to find growers openly admitting that they hire illegal aliens. A grower would have to be completely naive to think that all they hired were all legal workers. The USDA even did a study in 2012 discussing the impact of illegal alien farmworkers leaving their jobs. Now, could you please answer my question? Of the three choices I described, which do you want?" You can also laugh at them or similar, but only do that if it would work. You want to make the politician look bad, not make them look sympathetic. If you sense the audience agrees with you, perhaps try to get them to voice what they think of what the politician claimed.
- If the politician tries to go into a stock speech about increased employer sanctions under immigration reform, interrupt them and say: "Pardon me for interrupting, but I'm asking about what employers have done *in the past*. Many employers have knowingly hired illegal aliens and thus violated federal immigration law. Please tell us how you intend to deal with employers' illegal activity *in the past*. Will you give them a pass, or something else?"
- If the politician tries to claim that there's no way to go after employers, interrupt them and say: "Pardon me for interrupting, but the opposite is true. When an illegal alien applies for immigration reform, you'll know two things: 1. they were here illegally, and 2. who their employer is. If a chicken processor employs 1000 people, and 750 of their employees apply for immigration reform, you'll know that around 75% of that specific chicken processor's workforce was here illegally. You can then look at their employment records to see the documents those illegal aliens presented and be able to determine if the chicken processor should have known better. That's similiar to the Obama administration's 'paper audits'. In case that isn't clear to you I might be able to find a retired DHS investigator to explain this to you. Now, could you please answer my question? Of the three options I presented, which do you want?"
 See S.744 ES (Engrossed in Senate, the version passed by the Senate). In the "EMPLOYER PROTECTIONS" section it includes:
Copies of employment records or other evidence of employment provided by an alien or by an alien’s employer in support of an alien’s application for registered provisional immigrant status under section 245B may not be used in a civil or criminal prosecution or investigation of that employer under section 274A or the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for the prior unlawful employment of that alien regardless of the adjudication of such application or reconsideration by the Secretary of such alien’s prima facie eligibility determination. Employers that provide unauthorized aliens with copies of employment records or other evidence of employment pursuant to an application for registered provisional immigrant status shall not be subject to civil and criminal liability pursuant to section 274A for employing such unauthorized aliens.
 Someone isn't likely to dispute the half to three-quarters statistic, but if they do here's one citation:
immigrationpolicy . org/just-facts/america-needs-agjobs-not-harsh-guestworker-programs
"The majority of farmworkers are undocumented, with estimates ranging from 53% to 75% of the workforce."
For more giveaways to employers, see cis.org/immigration-reform-amnesty-illegal-aliens-and-their-employers . Note that the CIS report is based on the "IS" ("Introduced in Senate") version so the page numbers are off and there will be some changes between the versions.